The Publishing Game
Posted by cjparsons
Publishing isn’t always about good writing; it’s about making money. So the trap new writers (and sometime established authors) fall into is if I’m not making money and no one will publish my book, it must not be any good. Someone once told me, “Marketable isn’t the same thing as good.”
The whole publishing game reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Heinlein novels: Starman Jones. Max wants to be a navigator in space like his uncle before him. However, the space guilds place rigorous restrictions to block anyone but a select few from participation. Since there wasn’t anyone in the “inner circle” to sponsor Max, there’s no hope; until he meets a savvy and streetwise con artist who finds a way around the guilds.
The publishing industry is like those guilds: only a select few win and you have to know someone in the inner circle who sponsors you. Yes, I’ve heard all the other reasons and some are very valid: strong writers, good plots, etc. But a lot of the “polish” we see in professionally published novels come afterwards, as the book goes through the in-house editing process. The same polish applied to an unknown novel would have the same end results.
I’m a prolific reader, have been since elementary school when I read everything I could get my hands on and practically lived at the library. Once I even took a speed-reading course to have access to a library that was out of bounds to normal students. My point? I approach publishing not as a writer, but as a reader! And it’s the main reason I’m a proponent of self-publishing. There is a vast ocean of books out there with no traditional backing, but every bit as entertaining and gripping. Some may lack polish, some may even have a few grammar errors, but it doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed the story.
Yes, some self-published books are boring and poorly written. But you know what? I’ve struggled through some “critically acclaimed” best sellers and put them down after the first chapter. What traditional publishing companies find marketable isn’t always what I, as a reader, enjoy reading.
The bottom line is: where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have a story, write it. If you have a book, publish it. There is nothing more rewarding than a reader who says, “I liked your book.” No amount of money can equal the feeling. This is the best time in our century for new writers. Social media gives new writers ways to connect with readers and publicize their books. Self-publishing allows new books to be born every minute and with so much variety there is sure to be something every reader will like.
If you write it and publish it, someone will read it.